Joel Williams: Creating healthy and vibrant soil

Mar 19 2017 13:00 - 17:00

Cecil Sharp House, Cecil Sharp House, NW1 7AY London

Practical ways to build soil life with plant diversity, composting & compost teas

This workshop, organised by Cecil Sharp House LAND Project, is the second of a series of three workshops about the soil-food-web, and how we can work with it to build healthy, productive soil. You can attend all three, or just one or two.

Compost is alive! It is a living fertiliser teeming with a vast, diverse and thriving community of microorganisms. Compost is so much more than just organic matter and nutrients. It is this ‘living’ component of compost that makes it such a remarkable soil conditioner. Understanding compost from a living perspective is crucial toward producing a compost of premium quality. The role of composting and compost tea production as tools for management of the soil food web will be the overall focus of part 2 in this series. Building on part 1, this workshop will take a much stronger practical and hands-on focus. Attendees will take away theory and practice of quality compost production from a microbial/soil life perspective. Attendees will be very briefly refreshed on part 1 introducing the world of soil biology in creating healthy soils. This session will run as part lecture, part practical workshop. We will delve into the specifics and nitty gritty of quality compost production and take the time to discuss in detail the specifics on:

  • Hot vs Cold Composting
  • Ingredients and pile construction
  • Turning
  • Oxygen
  • Temperature
  • Moisture
  • Maturation
  • Vermicomposting
  • Manure management

Compost Tea is a watery-liquid extract of compost and contains a plethora of microorganisms, soluble nutrients and organic compounds. There has been much interest in the role of compost tea to support plant health, enhance nutritional supply and protect the plant from pest and disease. We will discuss the hands-on considerations when brewing compost teas and make an example batch. Through both lecture and demonstration, attendees will learn about:

  • Different types of compost teas
  • Brewer Design
  • Aeration Techniques
  • Oxygen
  • Food Sources
  • Equipment Hygiene
  • Application considerations
  • Compost for compost tea
  • Benefits to plant growth and health

The Cecil Sharp House garden is a Permaculture LAND (Learning And Network Demonstration) project. We have established an awarding winning low maintenance, decorative, ecological and edible design for the permaculture garden highlighting the soil-food-web, permaculture guilds and edible perennials while creating a variety of wildlife habitats. The garden won Camden in Bloom Best Business Garden in 2016.

You are welcome to join us for lunch in the Cecil Sharp Cafe at 12 noon

Joel Williams is an independent farming educator and crop and soil health adviser. His workshop at the London Permaculture Festival 2016 was full to bursting. He is also the grower for Growhampton – an edible campus at the University of Roehampton; growing organic vegetables to inspire and teach students, staff and local community about food growing. He has a keen interest in soil health, agroecological food production systems, urban farming and plant-microbe interactions. Through educating and engaging both farmers and consumers around food production and consumption, Joel is motivated to improve the sustainability of our food systems. More information about Joel on his website

General Admission

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